Sep 16,

The First Promise – Ashapurna Debi: The rural life in West Bengal in the tide of colonialism. Descriptions of customs, traditions (child marriage, puja, etc.) the women and their roles, how they change and are changed. the transition, the uncertainty and the inevitable. the fundamental part of identity that is challenged and that is bound to change (caste, e.g.)

Women are oppressed (and this goes for many other groups) certainly not only because men are sexist. A sexist society nurtures a sexist mentality in both men and women, so women can certainly be oppressive to themselves. They have to find the empowerment to break through. Liberation doesn’t lie in the hands or at the mercy of the sexists.

 

Sep 9,

The Hungry Tide – Amitav Gosh: I don’t like the two foreground protagonists (if such a notion exists), but the book offers a beautiful, rich, and humane depiction (or documentation?) of Sunderban, where the relationship between human and nature reaches both extremes: symbiosis and enemy. Meticulously researched like a comprehensive anthropological work that covers everything related to the locale: environment, folk tradition, history.

 

Aug 26,

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai:

a novel exploring extremely complex and intertwined issues: interethnic relationship, nationalism, immigration, uprising, globalization, the making of history, etc. in a series of everyday stories. It seems straightforward enough, but the perspicacity could hardly come from someone who hasn’t spent time in another part of the world, seeing another angle of the apple. Immigrants, or just people who move in general, do have that opportunity of stringing together the pieces.

In light of the ongoing Jammu-Kashmir upheaval and the Georgia-South Ossetia controversial break, it brought back the questions that I’ve stuck with for a long time: How can you know that your acts are of your true desire and not of a mob mentality? That they are a dedication to the cause and not an abuse of the cause? When you’ve already been part of the whirlwind, how can you cut yourself off, take a step aside to see which way it’s going? What’s the difference between a personal revenge and a public punishment? Can either be justified?

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